Prof Jonathan Jansen is a respected South African academic leader, wrote this on Facebook after ANC Struggle Stalwart Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral recently: “Show me another country where the Anglican Archbishop prays at a Muslim funeral; where a white man chairs the proceedings to remember a leader from a black liberation movement; where a sitting president of a developing country is told to step down in a letter from the deceased stalwart of his own party; where the widow of the black man being buried is a white woman who gave her life to the struggle for freedom; and where Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and other faiths come together in a broad swathe of South African humanity to remember a man who fought for all of us.
“Where on and off the stage no one racial or ethnic or religious group dominated the event. “For a moment, just a moment, it felt good to hope again…”
Outspoken ex-Vice Chancellor of the University of the Orange Free State, Professor Jonathan Jansen is a well-known figure on the South African education, current affairs and political landscapes. He obtained his BSc from UWC in the mid-1970s. An internationally renowned expert in education, in 2009 he was the first black Rector and Vice-Chancellor appointed in UFS’s history.
Prof Jonathan Jansen is known for his strong views on transformation, peaceful reconciliation and unity, which he pursued in earnest at UFS. Despite setbacks like the notorious Reitz Four video incident, under Jansen’s leadership, this former bastion of conservative Afrikaner learning became a model of integration in South Africa. Prof Jansen achieved his undergraduate education at the University of the Western Cape (BSc), his teaching credentials at UNISA (HED, BEd) and his postgraduate education in the USA (MS, Cornell; PhD, Stanford). Prof Jansen was a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University (2007-2008).
In recognition of his contribution to education Prof Jansen has received honorary doctorates in education from the United Kingdom and the USA, including one from the University of Edinburgh.Prof Jansen has published several books, is a columnist in leading newspapers in the country.